Niger and Nigeria conduct joint military operations against armed gangs in border regions
Seven children were killed in Niger in a Nigerian military air strike targeting “bandits,” a local governor and state media said.
Five others were injured in the apparently accidental strike, the governor of Niger’s Maradi region told AFP.
Governor Chaibou Aboubacar said four people were killed instantly and three died on the way to hospital. State television said the attack occurred in the village of Nachade.
Nigerian officials said an investigation had begun.
Aboubacar said the victims’ relatives were attending a ceremony and “the children were probably playing” when the airstrikes hit them.
Map showing Niger, Nigeria and Maradi
He said he believed the planes were targeting “armed bandits” in areas around the border between the two countries, but missed their target and hit Nachade, a village in the Madarounfa region.
Niger and Nigeria have conducted joint military operations against armed gangs responsible for a wave of kidnappings and killings in the region.
Since 2018, Niger has increased military patrols along its border with Nigeria to prevent gang incursions.
The children’s deaths come just three months after 26 children aged five and six were killed in a fire at a school in the city of Maradi.